How to Transfer From College to University

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Transferring from college to university can feel like a big change. Being prepared — from knowing the basics of how to transfer colleges to developing a better understanding of what it’s like to transfer colleges — can help make the transition easier and more seamless.

How to Transfer From College to University

Transferring from college to university is similar to applying to school for the first time.

It involves searching for the right program and sending in all your requirements, but this time, you’ll have to take an extra step to ensure that any progress you’ve already made is transferred to your new university.

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College Versus University: What’s the Difference?

College students attending lecture

The terms “college” and “university” are sometimes used interchangeably, which can be confusing, but it’s important to note that the two aren’t the same.

Colleges and universities differ in their program offerings and degree types. Both offer undergraduate degrees, but universities also have graduate programs and degrees available.

A lot of the confusion between the two stems from the fact that universities often have colleges within them. These types of colleges are specialized schools within a larger university system.

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Colleges also include community colleges and liberal arts colleges. A community college is a school that allows students to specialize in certain fields in 2 to 4 years of study, through which they may receive a form of certification.

Many people take courses in community college and then later on transfer to a university to finish a bachelor’s degree.

Liberal arts colleges provide a broader approach to education, allowing students to expand their horizons by focusing on liberal arts programs that can offer much more flexibility.

Things to Consider Before Transferring from College to University

University students attending class

Moving from a college to a university is a big step, and it’s important to think it through so that you can confidently make the transition.

Considering the following can help you determine if transferring is the right move for you:


First things first, why are you transferring? Are you changing degrees? Do you want to learn primarily online? Are you moving away?

Once you know your purpose, it’ll be easier to go through the steps of transferring. It could even help you figure out where you’re going to end up.


How much will transfer affect the time it takes for you to finish your education? In most cases, the time it takes you to graduate if you transfer wouldn’t be much different than if you stayed in your original program, particularly if you’re transferring from one accredited school to another in a similar major.


How easy will it be to transfer from college to university? It’s important to consider what is required to move to another school and how many of your previous courses you can get credit for when you transfer.


Moving from a college to a university can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to determine if it’s the right move financially.

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If you’re enjoying financial aid at your college, it’s important to see if the help will carry over when you transfer or if you can explore other options to help ease related fees.

How to Transfer from College to University

students preparing requirements to transfer from College to University

Here’s a simple three-step guide on how to transfer from college to university:

Step 1: Start Your College Search

After figuring out why you want to transfer, you can begin searching for different programs and universities you’d like to be a part of. You can list important criteria to look for, such as the number of available programs, the university culture, and how convenient it would be to go there regularly.

Step 2: Comply with Transfer Requirements

Next, it’s important to look at the transfer requirements of potential universities and degree programs and make a list of everything you need. You’ll need to gather your transcripts and the materials needed for the application.

Step 3: Take Care of Related Concerns

When transferring to a university, it’s not only what happens within the campus that you should think about. You’ll want to look into nearby accommodations and transportation needs if attending on campus.

Transferring from College to University

Woman transferring from college to university

Moving schools is a big leap, but it may be a smart decision–especially if a university seems more promising for your future plans. knowing the basics of how to transfer colleges to developing a better understanding of what it’s like to transfer colleges

To help you seamlessly transfer from college to university, you can check out My College Guide’s comprehensive guide to transferring colleges.

Ready to start your journey?
Isaac Scott
WRITTEN BY Isaac Scott

Isaac has a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His primary focus is accredited schools offering degrees online or in a hybrid format.